Best Air Compressors for Nail Guns


Getting the best air compressor for nail gun will make your job much easier. If you use a cheap compressor, you’ll end up running out of power before you get anything fixed.

However, you shouldn’t have to spend tons of money on a compressor, which is why this list is made up of budget-friendly options for everyone. Each and every air compressor will power your nail gun exactly as you need it to with a high amount of pressure.

Our Top Pick:

Editor’s Rating
DEWALT Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Compressor

If you’ve worked with tools for a long time, then you know how annoying it can be to run out of fuel, air, electricity, and so on. Stopping in the middle of unfinished work is enough to drive anyone mad. The good news is that these air compressors are designed to prevent any such occurrences from happening.

When you’re ready to get the best air compressor for your nail gun, check out the list below.

Best Air Compressor for Framing Nailers:

1. Campbell Hausfeld 3-Gallon Air Compressor – Best for the Money

Campbell Hausfeld 3-Gallon Air Compressor

With up to 110 max PSI, this is one of the most efficient air compressors for its size. The Campbell Hausfeld 3-Gallon Air Compressor packs a serious punch, allowing you to tackle any job around the house without ever having to worry about running out of fuel. It’s also fairly compact in size, which is essential for storing it away in the garage.

If three gallons is still too much for you and your work requirements, then you can try out their 1-gallon size. This one will help you knock out a few projects before you have to start using it up again. You’ll also like the 1-gallon option due to how quiet it can be when it’s recharging. Most other air compressors on the market are incredibly loud.

Other than the air compressor itself, this kit also includes all sorts of attachments to help you plug it into your nail gun among several other pieces of equipment. It even comes with some Teflon tape if you need to secure the seal a bit more. When you’re all done with it, store it in a small cabinet and you’re all good to go.

Key Features

  • Comes with several extra necessities
  • Choose between three gallons or one gallon
  • Quiet and easy to operate

2. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

DEWALT is easily one of the most well-known brands in the tool industry. With thousands of options to choose from, they’ve proven why so many customers continue to shop with them. If you’re excited about the options this brand has to offer, then you’re going to love the DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor.

This compressor offers up to 6 gallons which is far more than enough for jobs around the house. If you’re buying it for work, then you’ll have no problem getting enough use out of it to power up your nail gun. Don’t settle for a smaller compressor if you’re using it all day, as you’ll continuously have to recharge the compressor.

At up to 165 PSI, you’d have a hard time finding a unit that helps out as much as this one does in the long run. You could use a smaller PSI, but why not have the best unit from one of the best brands in the industry for a low-budget price? Again, finding a deal like this one with the low volume that it produces isn’t something that you come across every day.

Key Features

  • Made from one of the best brands in the industry
  • Holds 6 gallons of compressed air to power your nail gun
  • Up to 165 PSI

3. DEWALT Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Compressor – Our Top Pick

DEWALT DWFP55130 Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Compressor

If you liked the previous DEWALT air compressor on the list but you much more power packed into it, then this entry will be your best bet. This impressive option would make anyone content with its long-term usability. The DEWALT Heavy Duty 200 PSI Quiet Compressor is a beast of a machine that’s well worth looking into.

As the title states, this unit is fairly quiet compared to most other options on the market. This is largely due to the air-cooled motor that comes oil-free to keep it from overheating through continuous use. However, the quietness and air cooling doesn’t take away from the functionality of the machine whatsoever.

It might seem strange that this pump doesn’t require oil, but it actually takes quite a bit of work from you, which is always nice.  It also saves you a little bit of money from having to buy bottles of oil for it in the long run. Pick up this handy unit on the handlebar and you’ll be good to carry it wherever you need to go.

Key Features

  • Comes with a handle for carrying purposes
  • Doesn’t ever require oil
  • Fairly quiet compared to other air compressors of its size

4. PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free Pancake Compressor

PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free Pancake Compressor C2002

Another very well-known brand is PORTER-CABLE. Known mostly for their wide variety of tools that extend from screwdrivers to power tools and even air compressors, they have their metaphorical foot well into the door of this industry. The PORTER-CABLE Oil-Free Pancake Compressor is a great example of their dedication.

The handle on top of this unit is the first thing you’ll likely notice. It lets you carry this lightweight product around the house without worrying about needing more than one person to get the job done. The grip on the handle is ergonomic to fit perfectly with your hand, further preventing it from falling.

With 150 max PSI storage and a running PSI of 90, you’re going to get a whole lot done around the house with this compressor. Not only is it perfect for nail guns and other power tools, but you can also use it to inflate tires or remove unwanted dust from those pesky hard to reach areas in electronic devices and other gadgets.

Key Features

  • Made by PORTER-CABLE, a well-trusted brand
  • Comes with an ergonomic handle for easy carrying
  • Perfect for nail guns and various other power tools

Best Air Compressor for Roofing Nailers:

1. Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor

Another very well-known brand in the industry is Makita. With low prices and far above-average equipment, they continuously provide a reliable solution to a wide variety of workplaces. The Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor is exactly what you need if you’re working on heavy-duty projects throughout the day.

With so many products using cheap materials these days, it’s important to keep an eye out for that these compressors are made out of. Since you can’t go wrong with cast iron, the pump is made completely out of it for a huge lift in durability. Cast iron works wonders for preventing rust while lasting for decades on end at times.

Since the pump is pre-oiled, you don’t have to worry about it overheating. This process is done in the factory to ensure that it stays cooled down while you’re working. Not only is this nice for the longevity of the air compressor, but it’s also beneficial to you because it won’t heat up the space that you’re working in.

Key Features

  • Made by a reliable, low-cost company
  • Comes pre-oiled to stay cooled down
  • 2.0 HP motor for a high level of efficiency

2. Senco 1/2 HP 1-Gallon Air Compressor for Nail Gun

Senco 1/2 HP 1-Gallon Compressor

Although it’s always nice to have something that can do loads of work on end, not everyone needs a massive air compressor. For those who simply need something for a few minutes of work every now and then, the Senco ½ HP 1-Gallon Compressor will do just fine. With such a small motor, it doesn’t really overheat either.

Since the HP and the overall capacity are much smaller than other entries on the list, you’ll find this compressor to be rather lightweight. This is a huge benefit to people who do work around the house since they won’t have to lug around a 50-pound compressor all the time. However, the lightweight nature doesn’t impact the high level of durability.

Another subtle benefit that not many people seem to notice at first is the foam hand grip. This grip is very useful because it gives you a place to put your hand when you’re carrying it around. Preventing blisters and possible slips can make a huge difference, saving you from painful drops and other injuries.

Key Features

  • Super lightweight and very durable
  • Designed for people doing work around the house
  • Comes with a foam grip for your hand

3. California Air Tools Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor

California Air Tools Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor

Although they’re not as well-known as some of the previous companies so far on the list, California Air Tools has a specific dedication to this type of equipment. The California Air Tools Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor is a solid option for someone who’s looking for a high-quality product at a decent price.

This lightweight air compressor weighs in just under 30 pounds, which is much less than most of the competition. It also has a 0.6 HP motor, which is largely the reason why the price is so much lower than other options. If you don’t need too much power, then this one will be exactly what you need to fuel up your nail gun.

You’ll also enjoy the rubber grip on the handle of this unit. It’s designed to prevent blisters and slipping, both of which cause plenty of harm and nothing good. It also has the unique benefit of coming with rubberized feet to keep it from sliding all over the place when you set it down. This is a great pro if you’re working on hardwood floors or other slippery surfaces.

Key Features

  • Comes with a rubber hand grip
  • Includes rubber feet for stationary placement
  • Perfect for small jobs around the house with a nail gun

4. NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor for Nail Gun

NorthStar Single-Stage Portable Electric Air Compressor

NorthStar makes motors and other power equipment in several industries, giving them the competitive edge they needed to make it on the list. Although it’s last behind the rest of them, it’ll certainly be the best air compressor for a nail gun for quite a few people. It’s quiet, long-lasting, and it has a heavy performance. What’s not to like?

Perhaps one of the top features of this air compressor is the fact that it comes with two wheels. These wheels let you lean it back and roll the compressor wherever you want to. Since it’s heavier than most due to the 2HP motor, these wheels are a big breath of fresh air for people with back or hand problems.

Thanks to the active heat dissipation on the motor of this product, you won’t ever have to worry too much over it overheating. This will save you from the headache of having to buy a new one whenever it decides to start working too hard. With two front stationary feet, it’ll sit in one spot and help you power your tools until you call it a day.

Key Features

  • Comes with two back wheels and two front feet for easy control
  • Dissipates heat to prevent it from being damaged
  • Plenty of power for using it often

How to Choose the Best Air Compressor for Nail Gun

Now that you’ve seen all of the best air compressors for a nail gun, you’re almost ready to buy whichever one you think is the right unit. However, to give you a little bit more guidance and knowledge on the subject, you’re more than welcome to review the guide below. It might end up saving you money! Either way, you’ll learn everything you need to know about air compressors and why they’re so important for nail guns.

How to use a nail gun with an air compressor…

Using a nail gun with an air compressor is fairly easy if you’re used to power tools. Even if you’re not, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. You should always start off by making sure that you have the correct fitting for the job. Many nail guns have the same ports but try matching them up with the compressor before you jump to any conclusions. Once you’re sure that it’s correct, plug it in to use it.

You also need to plug the air compressor into a wall outlet to start compressing the air inside. The way it works is that it pulls air in and ‘compresses’ it into a pressurized area, resulting in PSI. The more pressure building up inside of the tank, the more PSI you’ll have, and the more powerful your tools will be when you use them. Larger PSI and a bigger tank capacity also let you use your tools much longer. If you don’t use a nail gun very often, then a low HP and capacity tank will work just fine.

The tank will initially make a loud noise while it’s filling up with air. You’ll know when it’s done because the sound will stop and the meter on the tank will reach its maximum PSI. You can then start using your nail gun as you please. While you’re using it, it’s not a bad idea to monitor the PSI meter or gauge to see how much it’s usually. This will let you know if you need more power or if your tank is the right size.

What size air compressor do you need for a framing nailer?

For a nail gun, you should have an air compressor that’s at least around 0.5 HP if you’re looking to use it for long periods of time on end. However, you can go much bigger to 2 HP and beyond for all day projects and a variety of other uses. Getting a bigger air compressor will also let you use it for filling up tires and much larger pieces of equipment. However, they’re not completely necessary if you’re doing work here and there.

Framing nailers require a high amount of power since they’re driving in bigger nails usually. Keeping up the frame of a house or any other building is obviously a huge procedure that requires the most reliable materials available. If you want to use a nailer for framing with an air compressor, getting one 2HP and up is recommended. You should also try to get one with a higher capacity of 6 gallons or more to keep it running as long as possible.

Are air compressors lightweight?

Since they’re made out of metal and other heavy components, air compressors are never really lightweight. However, some of them are much lighter than others either because of the fact that they have a smaller motor or because the metal itself weighs less. Either way you’ll be saving yourself a trip if you don’t need all of the power. In any sense, there are several ways to move an air compressor around without exerting too much effort.

For starters, some air compressors come equipped with wheels on them. This is a huge bonus because you can simply roll it around without ever having to pick it up off the ground. You also don’t have to worry about it tipping over since wheels do a good job at supporting the overall weight of the air compressor. Another option is to use the carrying handle that comes on most small air compressors. Some of them even have a rubber or foam padding around the handle to prevent slipping and blisters.

Never try to lift an air compressor that doesn’t have wheels or a handle by yourself. If you don’t have anyone else around to assist you, then it’s best to either way for someone else or use a dolly. Putting the compressor on a dolly with large wheels will give you the same benefits as a compressor with wheels, but you can then leave it to be stationary wherever you drop it off. In the end, it’s a win-win situation!

Do you need a fitting to use a nail gun with an air compressor?

The only way to use a nail gun with an air compressor is with a specific fitting designed for the job. Fortunately, usually the nail gun or the air compressor comes with the fitting, saving you time and money. You might even find yourself an air compressor framing nailer combo that gives you everything you need all in one bundle. Even if you don’t have the required fitting, it can be pretty cheap at your local hardware store.

It should be noted that trying to use an air compressor with a nail gun without a fitting is completely not recommended. This can be dangerous and result in serious injury. It might even mess up your equipment if you try to make something up by yourself. Keep in mind that an air compressor uses incredibly pressurized air that is capable of causing a lot of force all at once. Use the proper fittings and everything will be safe and sound for you to use whenever you want to!

What brands make the best air compressors for nail guns?

There are many popular tool companies that make air compressors that work with nail guns. Some of the high-end companies on the list above include PORTER-CABLE, DEWALT, and Makita. Even if you don’t end up choosing an air compressor from a popular brand, you can still get quite the deal. Many of the lesser-known companies charge less for products that are equally as good if not better than the well-known competition. Keep an eye out for these deals in case you’re able to save yourself some money and get a solid unit. For example, NorthStar isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think about air compressors. However, their expertise with motors across several industries makes them a viable option for anyone. Find out which air compressor is the best for you and your nail gun and make your job much easier!